America Matters Muslim Mom Parenting Free Thinkers

Being a child means being free to explore the world around you. Part of that means indulging in the natural creativity of youth. For many Muslim children, that opportunity isn’t available to them. Creative exploration, pretend play, and even silly nonsense, isn’t seen as a natural part of childhood or something to embrace.

It’s an absolute shame to not encourage this critical and beautiful part of life that should be savored especially in childhood. Starving creativity and outlawing nonsense damages free thinking. And maybe there you have it — free thinking isn’t something that’s looked upon as a desirable characteristic in children. Free thinkers are tougher to control.

Even though I was raised as an open-minded Muslim, I wasn’t encouraged to be a free thinker. Instead, I was rewarded for following the rules — however simple they might be. As a Muslim mom, I’m doing everything I can to make sure my child is never judged or silenced for being silly or exploring boundaries. Part of that means creating out-of-the-box opportunities for him.

One Saturday morning, that meant buying a car full of balloons and heading to the park, where we drew in all the other little kids who asked if it was my son’s birthday. It wasn’t. It was Saturday. Their eyes popped in amazement to see a float of balloons without there being a reason for it. And their excitement at the sight of bubbly colorful balloons tangling and teasing through the air, tells me their parents probably don’t encourage a lot of nonsense either.

There are so many challenges in the world today that it’s going to take some really creative thinkers to come along and help us find our way out. As a Muslim mom, I know my son is already pegged to inherit some really messy problems to do with our faith and culture. I want him to be free to explore and experiment new ideas that help us finally solve some of the problems we’re all facing together. That doesn’t start with pushing him through an education maze and out into the world. I think that starts with encouraging him to create his own world and be his own person.